Top industry speakers and experts came together on Friday 11th September in Hackney Attic, at Hackney Picturehouse, to share their knowledge and advice with freelancers. Attendees working across all areas of filmmaking – from Sound Design to Screenwriting, and Animation to Composition, as well as Producers and Directors – joined us to find out all the things about freelancing no one ever tells you!

Beginning with Katie McCullough of festival strategy company Festival Formula, the day began with a candid and inspiring talk on how to build your profile, and create a name for yourself in this wildly competitive industry. Joined by Director and Producer of Cannibal Films, Alex Lightman who spoke about his approach to getting established in the industry and gaining the financial backing for his feature Tear Me Apart, the tone was set for a day of essential insight.

“This programme has helped me realise that I’m not alone in the struggle to balance creative work and making money to sustain my existence! I feel much better about the position I am in in my career after this programme. I feel that I’m on the right track! Thank you Underwire!”

Nicola Quilter asked the most pressing questions in freelance filmmakers’ minds of Entertainment Lawyer Hayley Brady, and Production Accounting expert Lucy Drake. Inundated with questions in an extended Q&A session, both Hayley and Lucy’s extensive knowledge was mined by the enthusiastic attendees, and below this post are recommended links to further information.

Shooting People assembled a panel of trailblazing filmmakers whose work is being recognised at festivals across the UK. With a commitment to staying true to their own voice, taking creative risks that excite them, while being savvy enough to know the jobs to take to pay the bills, numerous examples of what life is like on a practical level for a freelance filmmaker demonstrated the importance of sharing experiences. Kelie Petterssen from Shooting People chaired while Loran Dunn, Ben Aston and Douglas Cox gave invaluable advice from their experiences.

“The day specifically answered questions I have been asking myself about how to go forward with my career. Great speakers. Met some passionate people. Genuinely useful advice.”

Wrapping up, Nicola Lees, who has run the exemplary mentoring scheme at WFTV (UK) for five years, shared the techniques she uses to help filmmakers progress onto the next level of their careers. Joined by Paulette Caletti, Writer, Director and Producer of feature film The Cake Maker who recently took part in the scheme, Nicola also shared advice on how freelancers can be their own mentor.

Throughout the day, contributors spoke in a very truthful way about the realities of the industry, which clearly inspired the attendees as the networking got into full flow at the day’s end. The sharing of practical and essential advice and information from the business areas of filmmaking, as well as hearing the individual experiences of other freelancers, enabled attendees to feel assured about where they are right now and where they are going next.

Our speakers also gave us their top tips on freelancing:

The day was generously supported by Creative Skillset, and we were thrilled Rebecca Davies could join us from the organisation to welcome attendees, and share this information about other funding opportunities that are available for freelancers:

Core bursaries (particularly Management and Leadership):
http://creativeskillset.org/who_we_help/creative_professionals/funding_for_film_training/management_and_leadership_film_funding

Diversity bursaries:
http://creativeskillset.org/who_we_help/creative_professionals/funding_for_diversity

Developing Creative Talent training programmes (for writers, producers and directors)
http://creativeskillset.org/who_we_help/creative_professionals/funding_for_film_training

Useful links about Production Accounting:
Production Accounting Forum www.productionaccountingforum.com

HMRC Film & TV Guidance Notes:
http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140721202711/http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/specialist/fi-notes-2012.pdf

Full speaker biographies

You can follow most of the speakers on Twitter: @festivalformula @CannibalFilms @NicolaJQuilter @ShootingPeople @Loran_Dunn @BenAstonDir @paulettecaletti @tvmole @WFTV_UK

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the day!

We will be back in Hackney Attic on 30th September to launch the full programme for Underwire Festival 2015 at our free Time of the Month Networking Event.

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